Apple TV 4K review – tiny but mighty unit delivers stunning cinematic quality

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  • VERDICT

The Apple TV 4K might be smaller but it has lots more features to power stunning cinematic experiences in your home.

Honey, I shrunk the Apple TV 4K – but don’t worry it’s now even better and still provides a stunning entertainment and gaming experience.

The new Apple TV 4K ticks all the boxes when it comes to quality and features to offer improved picture quality and provide crisp and immersive sound.

The unit is noticeably smaller than last year’s model thanks to the removal of the internal fan.

It now has a passive thermal design and is 20 per cent smaller than its predecessor. Not that size was ever an issue.

There are two models available, one without an Ethernet port (Wi-Fi only) and the Wi-Fi + Ethernet unit for those who want to wire their connection for better quality.

The Wi-Fi only model has 64GB of memory while the Wi-Fi + Ethernet model has 128GB storage.

The device is powered by Apple’s A15 bionic chip – that’s the same chip that powers the iPhone 13 – which is a lot of processing power for a product of this kind.

The result is an incredibly responsive and snappy performance so you can zoom around the menus and jump in and out of your apps with ease.

Apple TV 4K works nicely with all your other Apple devices and services including Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple Fitness+.

You can use your iPhone as a remote control or as a keyboard via Control Centre and make purchases or sign-in to supported apps with Face ID or Touch ID.

You can also use the light sensor on your iPhone to tweak your TV’s colour balance settings and connect up to two sets of AirPods to your Apple TV 4K.

And being connected to HomeKit, users can also get a live view in the top corner of their screen from their cameras or their doorbell and all without missing their programme.

And AirPlay allows users to share anything from their iPhone, iPad or Mac directly to the TV so it’s ideal for showing your photos, streaming music and playing other content you want to enjoy on a larger screen.

But it’s all about utilising the best screen in your house to enjoy a higher level of entertainment.

This time out, Apple TV 4K supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ which happened to be the two most popular and dynamic HDR (high dynamic range) formats used in the industry.

This now allows users to enjoy even more content from various services on more TVs and at their highest quality.

Whether you’re watching Netflix, Disney+, Paramount Plus, Stan or Apple TV+, the Apple TV 4K bring out the best of the content on your smart TV thanks to the wider compatibility with HDR and audio formats.

Set-up is a breeze – it took us just minutes.

It fast because Apple TV 4K can grab your settings from iCloud so all your apps and settings from your previous Apple TV 4K or second Apple TV 4K are right there.

For our review we set up the new Apple TV 4K in our lounge room and connected it to a Samsung 85-inch 8K Neo QLED TV.

Just as important as the unit itself is the Siri remote which has a one-piece aluminium design that fits nicely in your hand.

Apple has designed the remote with contrasting controls – some buttons are concave, some are flat and some are a different shape – so you can easily navigate the remote in the dark or without taking your eyes off the TV.

The click pad and touch surface also come in handy for navigating your content.

The circular click pad can be used as a jog control to get to the precise point of the programme you’re watching while the touch surface responds to presses and gestures.

And, of course, you can access Siri by pressing the microphone button on the right edge of the remote.

You can use your voice to ask for content, move forward and back through what you’re watching and find other programs and information.

Later this year, Siri will be able to recognise your voice to distinguish you from your other members of the household and switch to your profile and make suggestions for content you’d like to see.

The remote now now has a USB C port so you’ll need a USB-C cable – the one that comes with the latest iPhones – to charge it.

Now some may be asking why do I need the Apple TV 4K when I have the Apple TV app on my smart TV?

That’s a fair question, but the Apple TV app allows you to stream your content and is governed by the TV’s processor and quality which may affect the experience.

But with the Apple TV 4K you are getting excellent performance as well as the ability to integrate other apps and services for you to enjoy on your smart TV.

Apple TV 4K has an App Store built in so you can download games either individually or as part of the Apple Arcade subscription, you can also use Siri Voice Assistant, integrate HomeKit, choose the personal photo screensaver option through iCloud Photos or Home Sharing, use SharePlay to watch content together from different locations through FaceTime and you’ll be able to watch the beautiful aerial screen savers which look stunning on a 4K or 8K TV.
Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi only is priced at $219 and comes with 64GB storage. For an extra $30 you will get the Apple TV Wi-Fi + Ethernet with 128GB storage.

To us we think it’s well worth the extra $30 to have more storage and the option of connecting Apple TV 4K physically with the cable.

VERDICT

The Apple TV 4K might be smaller but it has lots more features to power stunning cinematic experiences in your home.

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